From The Journal Of Screenwriting V10 Issue 3: Walter Reisch: The musical writer by Claus Tieber

Highlighting the articles in the past editions of the Journal of Screenwriting, of which I am the Book Reviews Editor. Hopefully these abstracts will entice you to did a little deeper into the history and future of screenwriting. — Rosanne


Walter Reisch: The musical writer by Claus Tieber

Academy Award-winning Austrian screenwriter Walter Reisch’s (1903–83) career started in Austrian silent cinema and ended in Hollywood. Reisch wrote the screenplays for silent films, many of them based on musical topics (operetta films, biopics of musicians, etc.). He created the so-called Viennese film, a musical subgenre, set in an almost mythological Vienna. In my article I am analysing the characteristics of his writing in which music plays a crucial part. The article details the use of musical devices in his screenplays (his use of music, the influence of musical melodrama, instructions and use of songs and leitmotifs). The article closes with a reading of the final number in the last film he was able to make in Austria: Silhouetten (1936).

Walter Reisch (IMDB)


The Journal of Screenwriting is an international double-blind peer-reviewed journal that is published three times a year. The journal highlights current academic and professional thinking about the screenplay and intends to promote, stimulate and bring together current research and contemporary debates around the screenplay whilst encouraging groundbreaking research in an international arena. The journal is discursive, critical, rigorous and engages with issues in a dynamic and developing field, linking academic theory to screenwriting practice. 

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